Protein-Induced Morphological Deformations of Biomembranes
Many of the functions in living cells, such as endocytosis, cytokinesis, cell motility, and apoptosis, are mediated by the ability of the plasma membrane or organelles’ membranes to deform. While it is well established experimentally that the highly curved deformations of lipid membranes in cells are the result of their interactions with proteins, the understanding of the mechanisms leading to these structures is still in its infancy. Conventional modeling of membranes using sheet elasticity cannot explain the stability and dynamics of many of the complex membrane structures in the cell. In this chapter, we present two studies based on two different numerical approaches, which show how complex structures in cell membranes can emerge from the interplay between membrane elasticity and protein–membrane interactions. The first study is focused on the effect of energy-consuming protein binding/unbinding onto membrane morphology, and the second study is focused on the effect of cytoskeletal proteins on regulating membrane shapes.
KeywordsLipids Proteins Cytoskeleton Membrane morphogenesis Blebbing Simulation
ML acknowledges financial support from NSF (DMR-0812470), NSF (DMR 0755447), and the Research Corporation (CC66879). PBSK acknowledges financial support from CSIR-India. The authors would like to thank N. Ramakrishnan, John Ipsen, Madan Rao, Eric Spangler, Cameron Harvey, and Joel Revalee for their contributions to the studies presented in this chapter.